View Full Version : Tough question to ask, but "Are my compositions ok?"

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11-21-2012, 10:14 PM
the truth: haters be hatin' fo' a REASON.

I'm going to step out on a linguistic limb here and say "True dat."

tony lockerbie
11-21-2012, 10:24 PM
All of us will always want to be fully accepted and fully respected by mom and pop even after they're long gone. Few of us are fully accepted and fully respected by both. That's okay because it keeps us in a little continuous doubt... always on our toes... makes us try harder.

Wise words indeed!

11-22-2012, 09:06 AM
Hi Winger,

I looked around in your gallery uploads before posting this response. I really like some of your compositions that you have posted in there. The ones that I gloss over because they don't interest me are the ones like you presented in your OP. I wouldn't know how to comment on compositions in that brand of photography because it simply does not hold my attendtion, but I can appreciate it for what it is. But compositions as seen in "Them Old Boots", "Sheard Steps", and the "Ohiopyle" series are very pleasing to my eye. But, I believe there is no mistaking it, despite all other satisfying elements, if composition is "perceived" to be weak, then aesthetically, it can fail in any one person's eyes, including your mother's. In the end, if you feel good about it, then who's to say your own perception is wrong?

11-22-2012, 11:11 AM
To be blunt, she may be your mother and very dear are all mothers to us but she is one person whom it appears doesn't rate your compositional skills. However you have evidence that plenty others do so why worry about one person's opinion?

Allow one hundred people into an exhibition of say 10 great photographers' work and I'll guarantee that at least one of the hundred won't like some of the work on show and cite composition among a myriad of other reasons. Here's another guarantee. They won't all home in on the same work or even the same photographer

Value your mother for what you believe she is good at and accept that she may not be a "born photographic critic" :D


Alan Klein
11-22-2012, 01:47 PM
We all want our parents love and their acceptance of what we do. Have you asked her what she likes and doesn't like in the photos? It may not change either of your beliefs in what makes good photographic composition. However, it could open a line of communication where you both can accept each other for what you both are. That's more important in the scheme of things.

Chan Tran
11-22-2012, 02:10 PM
Your photos are fine! I couldn't see them very clearly but they look manipulated and not straight shots. If they are manipulated in any way then your mother won't like it. But I am not sure if your mother thinks like a mother I known that the music isn't music if it has no lyrics and a photo isn't a photo if it doesn't show a person or animal (or a soul).

11-22-2012, 02:18 PM

Bet your mother would like the compositions better if her grandchild was in them ;).

Composition is really personal - so the chances of your mother seeing things the same way you do aren't all that high.

Do you tend to like the composition of things she likes?

11-22-2012, 02:19 PM
It's hard for me to say if they're good or not. Composition is, in my opinion, personal. I like the concept, and find your photos quite nice.

I've found that matching composition to my intended impression makes my photos stronger.

My wife finds my photos so-so, but others like them, so don't worry about it. Ask your mom how she thinks they could be better. You might find she likes them more if she's a bit involved.

Take care and have a great Thanksgiving!

Bill Burk
11-22-2012, 02:20 PM
How does she regard your grandmother's compositions?

I'm lucky to know, and it helps me put mom's criticism in perspective. When I get criticism from my mom (She'll comment on what draws my eye, and she's right.) Then she speaks of grandma, who was a great teacher but "one step short" of being a great artist. Then there's my dad the art teacher. He is an affirmer and never critical, so I don't know his opinion on my compositions. He just wants pictures from his 80th birthday party.

11-23-2012, 12:00 AM
Thanks all for the great responses! I think part of why I asked in the first place was in case I was getting the "oooh, nice photo" type responses, but from people who appreciated the technical more than the artistic/composition aspect. I am totally fine with the concept of some people liking it and some not - no one will ever please everyone. Just start a thread here on "St." Ansel vs Edward Weston and see what happens.
I wish I could get a straight answer from my dad (who rarely speaks and hasn't been involved in any of the questioned conversations) - he used to be the family photographer (I have his old camera) and there were several artists on his side of the family (not mom's side, AFAIK).
And, yes, the ones I posted in the initial post are a bit of a departure from my usual, but I needed something new for the "audition" and these were what she was looking at when she made the most recent comments. Thank you much to those who looked at my gallery to see my past history, too.
Believe me, johnielvis, I don't let other's opinions decide what/how I'm going to shoot. Like others before me, I do it my way. But I did want to know if I was failing completely and should think about whether it's worth pleasing only myself.
btw, she's NEVER criticized photos of her grandson. Hmmm, big surprise there.

As I've thought about it, there really are a fair number of other things on which she's had different opinions than I. The color of my room as a kid (she picked my least favorite color), assorted gifts over the years, so I guess I should just count this among those and move on. Thanks to all for letting me know I'm not totally nuts or blind!

Poisson Du Jour
11-23-2012, 01:48 AM
You're a bit too hard with yourself. And your mother may just be a bit overbearing in her Headmistress-like commentary. All due respect to her experience and eye, but individuals are very much entitled to evolve their own specific styles, interpretations and compositions — including you. The works look like studies using alternative processes? The middle pic to my eyes is perfect — it's something the eye lands on comfortably the first time it comes into view. I cannot determine what I am looking at from the left and right side pics.

Sirius Glass
11-23-2012, 12:50 PM
Garden Party

- Artist: Rick Nelson
- peak Billboard position # 6 in 1972
- inspired by Rick's experience at a Madison Square Garden concert
- Words and Music by Rick Nelson

I went to a garden party to reminisce with my old friends
A chance to share old memories and play our songs again
When I got to the garden party, they all knew my name
No one recognized me, I didn't look the same

But it's all right now, I learned my lesson well.
You see, ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself <==== look right here!

M Stat
11-28-2012, 04:28 PM
Why do you care what your mother thinks of your work, or for that matter any of us. The freedom of the artist lies within you and no one else. You are the one to decide what is right for you and what isn't. To Hell with other people's opinion, its your work, make it the way you want it to be and YOU be the sole judge of it. The one and only person whose opinion should matter is YOU and no one else.

11-28-2012, 05:34 PM
The good thing is her comments made you THINK about your photography. That is important. Some times tis is necessary lest we stagnate. Next time she comments thank her for her opinion, explain you have given it a lot of thought, and you feel you are doing just fine. Which you are. Now if mom was say Imogen Cunningham or Dorthea Lang I might give her words a bit more thought.

My dad does this on occasion. What burns my hide is he is often right when he makes the comments.

11-28-2012, 05:39 PM
Now if mom was say Imogen Cunningham or Dorthea Lang I might give her words a bit more thought.

My dad does this on occasion. What burns my hide is he is often right when he makes the comments.
Since my dad was the family photographer all my childhood, I wish it was he commenting. And, yes, if she was anyone with a history in photography, I wouldn't even have asked here; just put my cameras away and bought a hammer or something.

11-28-2012, 11:13 PM
I think everyone is being too hard on your mom. It's tough to get more than a "nice photo" or "great" out of your parents (sometimes even friends). If your mom is really telling you what she thinks, value that and take it into consideration.

11-29-2012, 12:03 AM
Since my dad was the family photographer all my childhood, I wish it was he commenting. And, yes, if she was anyone with a history in photography, I wouldn't even have asked here; just put my cameras away and bought a hammer or something.

You have a nice portfolio , and a nice family (including your mom) who cared and looked through your fotos. That is what it matters.